June 01, 2006

Officials to explore partnerships in Taiwan, China

by Pete Rosenbery

 CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Officials with Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s College of Applied Sciences and Arts are traveling to the Far East and Asia next week to develop partnerships in aviation and related information systems fields.

“We want to visit with our colleagues, both in China and Taiwan, to see if there are joint educational and research projects that we can be involved in that will benefit both institutions,” Dean Paul D. Sarvela said.

“We are honored that we were invited to visit with the people in China and Taiwan and look forward to the meetings,” he said.

Sarvela, along with John D. Cotter, interim chair of aviation technologies; David S. Worrells, an associate professor in aviation management and flight and the SIUC Faculty Senate president; and Stephen Shih, an assistant professor in the School of Information Management Systems and Applied Technology, are making the trip, June 5-14.

While in China, the SIUC delegation will meet with representatives from Sanya Aviation & Tourism College in Sanya, China, and Hainan Airlines, the country’s fourth-largest airline. Hainan Airlines founded the college.

Sarvela noted that China’s economy is growing and that the airline recently bought a large number of Boeing jets. There is a “tremendous need” for airframe and power plant mechanics, avionics technologists, pilots and aviation managers, he said.

“We hope we can provide them with some training for these aviation professionals,” he said.

While in Taiwan, June 10-14, the delegation will meet with representatives with National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan.

The focus with both visits is collaborating on educational programs and faculty research projects, Shih said. Exploring partnerships between aviation programs can also result in opportunities for information systems that tie into the aviation field, he said.

In addition to also potentially attracting students to SIUC, Shih sees short-term benefits from summer camps or short-course seminars in information systems, aviation management and information technologies.

Cotter sees the trip to China as a fact-finding mission to determine the programs compatible with SIUC’s nationally recognized aviation technologies and aviation management and flight programs. Faculty may seek to obtain bachelor’s degrees and Federal Aviation Administration aircraft mechanic certifications from SIUC to support their own program, he said.

Sarvela, Cotter said, has a “very strong vision” for the college.

“It’s obvious that China is going to be a huge consumer of aviation products, which is one of the leading exports of this country,” Cotter said.

Leading in research, scholarly and creative activities is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.